In May, Mr. Conrad said new sales were up 65 percent so far this year.
New technology companies were also able to take data they could aggregate quickly — in this case information needed for the loan applications — and deliver it electronically and quickly to local credit unions. The credit unions, in turn, could help their customers.
Cortney Keene, co-founder of Keene Perspectives, an educational company in White River Junction, Vt., that works with autistic children, needed a loan to help support her 20 employees. Her business shut down when the stay-at-home orders were issued, and she laid off 17 workers.
She used Gusto, a fintech payroll company, to organize the data for her loan applications as soon as early guidance on the payroll loans came out. She then got funding through a local credit union in Vermont. “We’d be seriously cutting services without the P.P.P. loan,” she said.
Edward Kim, co-founder and chief technology officer of Gusto, which is eight years old, described what his company did in the early days of the crisis as “getting all the gnarly parts into one document to get this loan approved as quickly as possible so someone at a bank isn’t scrutinizing it.”
While more established payroll companies aimed to do the same thing, Gusto’s low-cost online model meant it had more small businesses as clients — with average monthly payrolls from $20,000 to $28,000. Given the early confusion around how the Small Business Administration would work with financial institutions, Gusto focused on streamlining the process of collecting the needed information so banks could disburse the money.
What all these companies are counting on is that businesses, forced to do things differently in the crisis, will continue to use fintechs for more of their needs.
“Things were already moving in this direction,” Mr. Conrad said. “What would have been holding people back was the inertia. Once people move, the inertia works in the other direction. Who wants to go back to filling out insurance paperwork with a pen and trying to find a fax machine? No one.”